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Feeding Raw Diets to Your Pets

March 4, 2016

An extract from Rebecca L. Remillard PHD, DVM’s article

Food is contaminated with microbes. Meat from healthy animals become contaminated at slaughter.

Approximately 1/3 of poultry sold for human consumption has tested positive for Salmonella. Many procedures are done during food processing to reduce contamination, but bacteria persist. All products, therefore should be considered contaminated.

Raw diets meant for pets have been documented to have pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica, Salmonella species and E. coli. In fact, if one were to look at the packaging of raw products, there is no claim that they are pathogen free (free of bacteriathatmay cause harm.)

Since most pathogenic organisms are found on the surface of the meat, searing the surface would reduce the amount of bacterial load. Feeding the meat « rare » as in not cooked thoroughly would also be an option.

FECAL CONTAMINATON :

It has been shown that pets fed contaminated raw meat shed viable organisms (bacteria) in their feces. Salmonella was isolated from 80% of bones and raw food diets sampled and from 30% of the stools from dogs consuming these diets.

HANDLING OF RAW FOOD :

Feeding infected raw diets increases the risk for infection of both human and animal household members. Humans can become infected when handling contaminated meat and egg products.

Safe practices during handling of the food, feeding dish, and feces should be adhered to.

DISPELLING THE MYTH :

Many who advocate feeding raw diets insist tha tdogs and cats have a more acid stomach and shorter gastrointestinal tracts than do humans, protecting them from pathogenic bacteria. However, there is no difference among these species in regard to gastric Ph and no evidence to suggest the difference in length of the gastrointestinal tract is protective to dogs and cats. All three species manifest similar clinical signs after ingesting food contaminated with pathogens.

No scientific evidence exists that a raw diet is superior to any dry or canned pet food.

In conclusion, feeding of raw pet food is associated with health risks to pet and family with no demonstrable benefit.